Blessed is the one who finds wisdom,
and the one who gets understanding,
14 for the gain from her is better than gain from silver
and her profit better than gold.
15 She is more precious than jewels,
and nothing you desire can compare with her.
16 Long life is in her right hand;
in her left hand are riches and honor.
17 Her ways are ways of pleasantness,
and all her paths are peace.
18 She is a tree of life to those who lay hold of her;
those who hold her fast are called blessed. – Proverbs 3:13-18
Would you rather have a pot of gold or a gold mine? Would you rather have a pot of silver or a silver mine? Gold and silver that is already refined are easier to use, but when it is used up or spent, you are done. A gold or silver mine requires lots of work to extract the metal and then refine it but, assuming it is a rich mine; it won’t run out and be done after the first pot of gold or silver. It will continue to produce wealth for mine owner who is willing to work the mine. This is like the proverb, give a man a fish and feed him for a day, teach a man to fish and he can feed himself forever. Is it better for someone to give you a fish or to teach you to fish?
So it is with wisdom and understanding, the one who has them has a gain that is better than silver and gold or jewels or anything you can desire. Why?
There is excellent production from the mine of wisdom and understanding: long life, riches, and honor, pleasantness, and peace in life. Those are all extremely desirable temporal blessings of wisdom and understanding.
Verse eighteen introduces a different dimension of blessedness that comes from wisdom and understanding. She is a “tree of life” to those who lay hold of her.
What about this tree of life?
The tree of life first appears in the garden with Adam and Eve. The presence of the tree of life is one reason Adam and Eve were banished from the garden and angels were positioned to guard the entrance to the garden. If one were to eat from the tree of life in the garden, they would never die. Because of their sin, Adam and Eve were sentenced to death. They could not be allowed to partake of the tree of life.
This same tree of life appears again in Revelation 2 and 22. It is in the midst of the paradise of God, Revelation’s equivalent to the garden of Genesis. Here it produces its fruit every month in its season, and the leaves are for the healing of the nations. The quality of life revealed in the New Heaven and New Earth is one in which no longer will there be anything accursed.
How does one obtain eternal life, the fruit of the tree of life?
And we know that the Son of God has come and has given us understanding, so that we may know him who is true; and we are in him who is true, in his Son Jesus Christ. He is the true God and eternal life. – 1 John 5:20
For I want you to know how great a struggle I have for you and for those at Laodicea and for all who have not seen me face to face, 2 that their hearts may be encouraged, being knit together in love, to reach all the riches of full assurance of understanding and the knowledge of God’s mystery, which is Christ, 3 in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. – Colossians 2:1-3
The tree of life is none other than Jesus Christ.
The beginning of wisdom is the fear of God. Godly wisdom always leads to Jesus and always produces life, eternal life or the life of the eternal God in us.
Ultimately, this is why wisdom and understanding are better than silver and gold or any other thing you may want. They lead us to Jesus Christ and eternal life in him. They lead us to the One who is the provider of all things we need.
Do you feel you lack in wisdom?
If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him. – James 1:5